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Does God Still Speak to Us?

March 18, AD2015

Kelli - jesus praying

I sat quietly; a little disheartened by a conversation I had just had. The person I was talking to told me that she didn’t believe God really talks to her. In fact, she wasn’t sure that He talked to anyone really. I felt a sadness creep into my heart for her. How could she believe that God doesn’t talk to her? How could she miss His voice when there are times I hear it as clearly as I hear my sweet little ones’ voices as they call out, “Mama!”?

We know through reading the Bible that in the Old Testament times God spoke with His people both through His Spirit and His angels, but also with His very own voice as well.  God spoke very clearly to Noah when He instructed him to build the ark. The Lord continued to call out to Samuel until he answered, “Speak, for Your servant is listening!” He asked Zechariah to listen to Him, to turn from his evil ways, and to return to Him. Throughout the Old Testament we hear God speaking over and over again to those He loves- Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, Jonas, Elijah, Isaiah, and so many others. Some listened intently to the Lord; others ran away so as not to have to hear what the Lord wanted of them.

God did not stop speaking to His people once Christ was born. In fact, we read in the New Testament that God spoke again through His Spirit, His angels, and with His own voice. “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” was heard at the moment of Jesus’ baptism. God spoke to Peter, James, and John during the transfiguration upon the mountain when He told them, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

While we see that God was still speaking with those in the earliest Christian days, the question remains, does He still speak to us now? Pope John XXIII seemed to think so and said the following in 1959,

“The Roman Pontiffs… “also have the duty, when after mature examination, they deem necessary for the common good of bringing to the attention of the faithful those supernatural lights which it pleases God to dispense freely to certain privileged souls, not for the purpose of presenting new doctrines, but rather to guide us in our conduct.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also states,

“Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.” (CCC, 67)

So if God is still speaking to us, why aren’t we hearing His voice?

There are many reasons we don’t hear God’s voice in our lives. Sometimes we are afraid to listen. We don’t want to hear what God has to say to us. We know that He may ask something of us that is difficult to do or give. Instead of listening we close our ears and pretend not to hear.

Sometimes we don’t hear God because we are too busy putting our own needs ahead of everything else. Our desires to have more, and to be more, are often in direct conflict with what God desires for us. It is difficult to hear His voice over own voices calling for more.

Many of us don’t feel like we are worthy of God’s time and love. We can’t see how or why He would want to talk to us. We are no one and someone so glorious, someone so kingly would never stoop to speak to someone in our lowly position.

Most often, though, we simply don’t recognize God’s voice over the roar of life around us. Our world is noisy and demands so much of our time and energy. We are so focused on everything else that we fail to hear God’s gentle whispers in our lives. Often we are so busy and so consumed with everything around us that we miss Him even when He is screaming our names, trying to get our attention.

What can we do to change this?

In order to hear God, even when He speaks to us in a whisper, we must be in constant communication with Him. We must learn to recognize His voice. Just like our children learn our voices very quickly by listening intently to us as babies, we too must listen and learn God’s voice. We must make baby steps. We must be willing to learn. Thankfully God is a patient and loving Father. He desires us to know His voice and so He is willing to teach us slowly if necessary.

Now that we are willing to listen, where will we hear God’s voice speaking to us? It may be in the quiet of a darkened room as we pray to Him, or it may be in other ways. He may send His Spirit to us or perhaps one of His angels. God uses the Bible to speak to us. His words are contained within, ready to guide us and inspire us. We can hear Him speak to us in our dreams, through His divine timing, prayer, quiet contemplation, nature, music, our children, the Mass, and through the people we encounter on a daily basis. He is constantly speaking to us. We just need to learn to hear His voice!

St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.”

I pray we each will quiet our minds and open our hearts to hear God’s voice speaking to us. God wants us to hear Him. He longs to have meaningful conversations with us. We must decide to listen for His voice; if we don’t, we may miss the comfort, inspiration, and encouragement God bestows upon us when He speaks intimately with us.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Michelle is a cradle Catholic, married to her high school sweetheart Mike for the last 24 years. She is an ecletic homeschooling mom of 11 children. In addition to her children on earth she is a mother to 13 saints in heaven. She is active in the prolife community and is dedicated to protecting all children, both born and unborn. Michelle is a regular writer at Catholic Sistas, a website dedicated to sharing the truths of our faith through personal stories and article that stress adherence to the teachings of the Church. She loves Apologetics and learning all she can about our beautiful Catholic faith.

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  • Growing up fundamentalist/evangelical, I was told that as a born-again Christian God would “speak to me”, “move me”, and “lead me” so that I would know and could follow his will. I listened to others talk about how God spoke to them, moved them, and led them to do this and to do that…but He never did the same for me. I finally came to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with me because God had decided he didn’t want to talk to me. So I left the Church.

    Many years later I became an orthodox Lutheran and was told that God doesn’t work like that. The evangelicals are wrong. The voice they are listening to is their own. According to “true” Christianity, God speaks to Christians in only one manner: through his Word, the Bible.

    That gave me a lot of peace…until I found out that the “Word” is full of discrepancies, errors, and scribe alterations.

    I was very sad (and angry) to find out—it is ALL nonsense.

    So what about my problem of not hearing the “voice” that other evangelicals were hearing speak, move, and lead them? After deconverting completely from Christianity, I came to realize that it was THEM, not me, that had the problem. They were hearing voices. I was the sane one…who did not.

  • Cheryl

    God does indeed speak to us! Granted He does speak in various ways – through Scripture, other people, etc. but He speaks directly to us at times, too.
    In 1976 He began speaking to me, sometimes audibly, other times more as a thought. At times He would show His wonderful sense of humor, other times He would give words of comfort or insights. For example, I began taking care of my mother after my father had died in 1983. She showed some dementia at that point.. It was however 1985 when I sold my condo to live with her. After three years at her place, I felt I could buy a ranch house about three miles away and live there with my ten year old cat who also was ailing. I would still be at her place every day after work and on weekends to take care of mowing, grocery shopping, etc. before going to my place afterwards. After seven months in my new home my cat died and I Jesus said to bury him back at my mother’s place. I wondered curiously why there, but then the second curiosity came the following day. I was to pick up a prescription for my mother but found it hadn’t been placed. I called the doctor’s office and the first words that came from him were: “What are you going to do about your mother?” After hanging up, I wondered if God was asking me to move back in with her. I began “seeing” what greater difficulties I’d face were I to go back. Jesus then ASKED if I would be willing to move back in with her knowing what it would cost me. I agreed. I asked if I could stay at least another four months at my place, however, and that seemed acceptable. When the time came to sell, it sold by word of mouth within days.
    Never would I try making Him speak to me. It is up to Him to speak when He cares to speak. After a few years, it became very rare that He would speak audibly, but then it had migrated to a more interior way of communicating, like a gut feel communication rather than words. That continues pretty much to this day, although there are long spells of dryness, but once in a long while He may say something audibly – generally a short one sentence thing.
    So yes, He certainly does speak to people. How gentlemanly He is, too! Several times He ASKED me, not told to make a big decision. He also is very much within us. He likes to be spoken to. He wants to hear our “I love You’s” from time to time.
    Many people see Him more like a cardboard figure. They know about Him by head knowledge but it takes reaching into our hearts – enough that we start “falling in love with Him.” It is like those puzzles where you try to see a face in the maze of lines. Try as you might you don’t see anything at first but when you do suddenly see the face in the puzzle, you will always see the face. So, too, will one come to see Jesus in a far deeper way when it reaches the heart.
    Have you ever read “This Tremendous Lover” by M. Eugene Boylan (Trappist Monk)? One passage had touched me deeply years ago and continues to touch me. I quote: “The Heart of our Lord is the heart of a man who is God, and who has all God’s infinity of knowledge and power and love. Yet it is a human heart with all the human heart’s longing to love and be loved; and no lover has ever been treated and slighted as bitterly as has “This Tremendous Lover'”.”
    Cheryl

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  • In response to “Veritas”

    Based on the advice you gave it seems as if you have actually been able to hear from God, and I believe you because I can say the same, and I can describe it here.

    It was 2011 and there were two important people in my life who were simply not speaking to me, and apparently intentionally finding fault and intentionally misinterpreting my actions. It hurt quite a lot. But I had years ago decided not to seek retribution, based on studying Bible verses such as Matt 5:39. Mixed up and in emotional pain, I went into the woods near a stream to sit and pray and ‘chat’ with our Lord. I complained about how unfair it was, and that they should treat me like they would like to be treated, and then asked how I should respond? Of course it was just me speaking into thin air, but I was talking to Jesus, as if I expected Him to give me answers. I sat in total silence hoping to hear a comforting thought, and was amazed that clear thoughts came into my head that did not seem to come from my own experience base, or my own natural reactions at a time like this.

    “You are already taking the right approach by not reacting angrily or upset by this. You are doing the right thing by purposefully deciding to treat them well.”

    I admit, it did calm me down. I accepted it and the swirl of desparing thoughts slowed down. But just for a minute. Then I responded with the thought, “But what if one of them mistreats me again with
    insinuations of wrong-doing without asking me what happened?”

    The calming thought came immediately: “Unless a grain of wheat shall fall to the ground and die, it remains but a grain of wheat with no life. Do you think that the grain does not suffer? Be willing to share in my suffering for the sake of others.”

    If you want to read the full story, go here. There’s more.

    http://www.wtness.org/index.php/categories/how-jesus-speaks-to-us/item/272-the-lord-s-help-during-a-sad-time

    He left no ‘evidence’ that others could see or hear. But he did leave a strong impression on me. I was convinced that He is alive and able to lead us towards a longer term joy, even in the midst of a struggle.

  • Veritas

    Spend 5 minutes if you can and just listen. Ask Him to speak to you and just listen. Increase your time or frequency as you are able. But, start small

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  • Michelle, you have a gentle spirit that always seems to get the heart of the matter without hitting us over the head with a mallet. I love this reminder: St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.” – Thank you.

  • Dhaniele

    Thank you for your quote of Pope John XXIII. It would be useful here to quote what Pope Benedict has said about this topic in the past.. In the document entitled, The Message of Fatima, there is a section entitled “Theological
    Commentary.” It is here that the future Pope states an important aspect of the
    Church’s teaching on Tradition in relation to private revelation. He does this
    first and foremost by putting it in the context of the Council document Dei Verbum, No. 8. There we read: “For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities
    and the words which have been handed
    down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who
    treasure these things in their hearts, (cf. Lk 2:19, 51), through the intimate understanding of the spiritual
    things that they experience, and through the preaching of those who have
    received through Episcopal succession the sure gift of truth” In the same
    section, the Council further clarifies: “This tradition which comes from the
    apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit …. For as the
    centuries succeed on another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the
    fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete
    fulfillment in her …. Thus God, who spoke of old uninterruptedly converses with
    the Bride of the beloved Son; and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living
    voice of the Gospel resounds in the Church, and through her, in the world,
    leads into all truth those who believe and makes the word of Christ dwell
    abundantly in them (cf. Col 3:16).” What is perhaps most striking is that Pope Benedict then went on to add the statement that “In this context it now
    becomes possible to understand rightly the concept of ‘private revelation’
    which refers to all the visions and revelations which have taken place since
    the completion of the New Testament.”

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  • newguy40

    “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our
    conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf
    world.” C.S. Lewis

    I’ve had all three of the experiences that Lewis notes in the above quote. The closest I have felt to God is when a loved one has suffered. Redemptive suffering is a gift.

  • Guy McClung

    Michelle-God has now spoken to us thru your words; and as James says He speaks to us thru other people- and that too requires what you say-we need to be quiet so we can Him hear speak thru those we ecounter every day. And I will bet He talks to you unceasingly thru those eleven embodiments of your and Mike’s love. Guy McClung, San Antonio

  • james

    I can’t imagine God not communicating with me or anyone as you so aptly pointed out. Serendipity
    and synchronicity are very common ways God communicates through people using unwarranted action.